Seven in 10 cross-party police and crime commissioner (PCC) candidates have pledged to make tackling retail crime a priority if they are elected in May.

It comes after RN contacted a cross-party selection of potential PCCs to find out if they are aware of the extent of crime faced by store owners and if they will make it one of their priorities if they are elected.

Eight out of the 10 candidates said they are aware of the violent attacks retailers face, while seven said tackling the issue will be one of their main priorities.

Private security, better training and more officers on the streets are some of the measures promised by the candidates to provide improved protection for independent retailers.

“I am fully aware of the challenges retailers face in terms of security and the fact there are a lot more robberies and knife crime,” UKIP candidate Patrick Lowe told RN. “My preventive policing plan is about getting police constables out there in the community on the beat and that is what retailers want. They want face-to-face policing so they have that extra security.”

Conservative candidate Marc Jones said: “We have had six knife-point robberies in Lincoln over the last two months, so it is something that is very much on the radar locally and something that needs tackling.”

The NFRN and Guto Bebb MP, former chair of the all-party parliamentary group on retail crime, have been lobbying police and crime commissioners in a bid to get police to “upgrade” their response to retail crime.

Adrian Roper, NFRN head of public affairs, said: “We are heartened if the candidates are realising the extent and importance of the issue. This is a hugely important issue and we are pleased it is being taken on board. We are looking forward to working with PCCs after the elections to tackle the problem.”

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